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Official Poll - Non-Fiction Book for Nov. & Dec. 2007 
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Post Official Poll - Non-Fiction Book for Nov. & Dec. 2007
Official Poll

Non-Fiction Book for Nov. & Dec. 2007

The following are our Non-Fiction book choices for November and December of 2007. If we jump on this polling process right away we might be able to have our books selected and the new forums created earlier than the end of October. This would be optimal.

I am in a hurry right now and will not be posting the full polling instructions here. Later tonight I hope to come back and edit this post to add in the instructions. If you're new to BookTalk please read any of the recent 'Official Poll' threads for our past polls, found lower down in this forum, for an explanation of our voting rules and process.

I will also edit this post and add book descriptions later.

If you already know the rules and voting procedure feel free to cast your votes now. In fact please do. We are way behind due to the forum migration and it would be very helpful to get this poll underway as quickly as possible.

These are our choices...

Book 1: Western Muslims and the Future of Islam by Tariq Ramadan

Book 2: The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo

Book 3: The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology by Robert Wright

Book 4: A Poisonous Affair: America, Iraq, and the Gassing of Halabja by Joost R. Hiltermann

Book 5: Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War by Joe Bageant

The poll will run for 12 days so please vote now!



Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:45 am
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Book 1: Western Muslims and the Future of Islam by Tariq Ramadan

This is my first choice, and here's why: Ramadan is a moderate voice within the Muslim tradition, able to criticise the vices of Islam while affirming its virtues in ways that a skeptical Western audience can take seriously. Just as Muslims living in the West must and can become European and American...Europeans and Americans must and can make room for Muslims and Islam. Frankly, if we hope to make any inroads with Islam (meaning less war and more peace) then we need to lift up and examine those moderates who prescribe a merging and cross-fertilization of cultures...rather than a clash of civilizatons. Ramadan is also a stellar intellect and well respected writer around the world.

Book 2: The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo

This is my second choice because I am very interested in those forces that drive humans to barbarity and evil: how does it work psychologically, socially, in the context of war and everyday life. I think this is especially pertinent in relation to the War on Terror and the use of torture by US forces and forced rendition of combattants to places where torture is known and expected to be practiced. I saw Zambardo discuss this book on CSpan and found him to be extremely well informed, passionate and somewhat frightened of the conclusions he draws in his book.

Book 5: Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War by Joe Bageant

This is my third choice. The title is great! I am very fond of the thesis in that I agree that the conflict between economic classes has great effect on religious ideology, identity and political participation. It looks like a cross between anthropology, religious studies, social sciences, economic theory, and popular culture. I think it speaks to the white trash red neck heritage I am never too far from.



Wed Oct 10, 2007 12:15 pm
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Post Re: Official Poll - Non-Fiction Book for Nov. & Dec. 200
I assume we get five votes, since there are five books...

While "Western Muslims and the Future of Islam" looks interesting, it also looks as though it's intended for Muslims. I like the idea of reading about Islam, but this looks more like an argument for Islamic assimilation into the West, and I think we'd be better off reading a more general book about Islam as it is at present, not as it could be in the future.

I'm putting all of my votes towards "A Poisonous Affair: America, Iraq, and the Gassing of Halabja". I don't think it stands much chance of winning, but it's the nominated book that interests me most, and I think the implicit topic -- how Western non-intervention allowed the Baath regime to set a precedent in the use of chemical weapons -- gives us a topic that is both worth discussing and multi-faceted enough to make it interesting.



Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:31 pm
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Sorry, but no interest in any of these either.

I would consider reading "Moral Animal" as I had noted that book in my head a while ago. I may also read A Poisonous Affair", but I am not committing by voting for anything at this time.

Mr. P.


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Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:46 pm
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Post Impressions
You know what? I'll be happy enough regardless of what wins, though I dare say Deer Hunting with Jesus might be hard to acquire without going online. I doubt I'll find anything new in The Moral Animal but it might lead to some interesting spin-off discussions. A Poisonous Affair looks like it should be a good read, I'll probably throw it a couple of votes. The Lucifer Effect is probably my favourite, but then again I nominated it, so that shouldn't be a surprise. Western Muslims ... looks like the kind of book I'd pick up in the library to read for a few hours.



Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:13 pm
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I am reading Moral Animal right now. It is a great read. I am reading very slowly though so will still have plenty more to read next month and I'll throw my vote behind that book.



Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:10 am
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I think Western Muslims, though written specifically for Muslims living in the West, is certainly pertinent and accessable to non-Muslims too. The text is not simply a vision for the future, but a critical assessment of present circumstances facing Muslims and their co-citizens in the West. Furthermore, it is a revaluation of Muslim essentials and the History of Islam...therefore a mix of future, present, and past. It is not simply a textbook examination of Islam: it has a clear agenda that, I believe, has profound implications for many of our contemporary crises regarding the War on Terror and how to live in a multicultural, inclusive, secular society. It is a chance to closely examine one particular religious reformer's approach to bridging past and present, secular and sacred, criticism and affirmation: if he fails in this approach, we might consider what our alternatives are.



Thu Oct 11, 2007 3:49 pm
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Like Mr. P., I can't say I would commit to reading any of these selections. A Poisonous Affair looks interesting, but I know myself too well to actually commit myself. That being said, I've been meaning to get to Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America for over a year now, which seems to have similar themes to Bageant's Deer Hunting with Jesus. After looking at both, I'm pretty certain Frank's book will serve my purposes more so than Bageant's. Thus, if Bageant's is chosen, I'll read Frank's concurrently and hopefully be able to add to the discussion. That's not a vote for either book, just letting you know my thoughts.

DH wrote:
I think it speaks to the white trash red neck heritage I am never too far from.


Freaking hilarious!



Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:49 pm
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Quote:
DH wrote: I think it speaks to the white trash red neck heritage I am never too far from.
irishrose:Freaking hilarious!


My roots run deep in fried chicken patriarchy and home grown love it or leave it Americana. I know the great smell of trailerpark 4th of July mixtures of bbq'd burgers, weiners, Coors, and illegal explosives off the front porch. I understand why white men are smarter, the Denver Broncos are better, and why illegal immigrants steal our jobs and rob our car stereos. I don't understand how anyone can like anything better than Classic Rock, and I just as soon kill a Rap Star than listen to him sing, or whatever the hell he gets paid to do. I love dogs too. And, I know what it means to get up at 4AM, load up the truck, and go hunting: ducks, quail, pheasants, turtle doves, geese, deer, elk, and antelope...grown men with their adolescent sons...severely under the influence of schnapps, whiskey and vodka...on the trail for anything furry that moves, carrying high powered rifles and hand guns, loaded and ready to kill. Thems my people.



Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:50 pm
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Ok 4 votes for "Moral Animal" because, well I found a copy for $3 in the used shop!

1 Vote for "Lucifer Effect"

Mr. P.


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Sat Oct 13, 2007 6:10 pm
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Since I probably won't be participating in the discussion, I'm not going to vote for any of the selections.

For what it's worth, I probably would vote for either A Poisonous Affair or Moral Animal if I were.

George


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[i][b]mere atheism: no gods


Sun Oct 14, 2007 9:17 am
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Well for this round I'm going with:

3 for The Lucifer Effect
2 for A Poisonous Affair


Now if I'm right, the state of play looks like so:

The Moral Animal has 9 votes (5 from Rivercoil, 4 from Mr. P).
A Poisonous Affair has 7 votes (5 from Mad, 2 from my good self)
The Lucifer Effect has 4 votes (3 from me and 1 from Mr. P.)

It's probably going to be very close actually.



Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:01 am
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Thanks for helping keep score, Niall.

Yes, everyone gets 5 votes to distribute however they see fit. Please be sure that you all have assigned 5 votes clearly. If you simply stated what books you like we will not know how to count your votes. Be clear, please. Thanks.



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Post Lucifer Effect
I'll cast all my votes for Lucifer Effect. I finished that book last month, and it's excellent, bringing up important and disturbing aspects of human nature. Also, I'll be very busy for the rest of the year, and there are several other books I'm eager to read.

I read Moral Animal five years ago. It has some interesting ideas, and led me to read several other books about evolutionary psychology. While I'm not inclined to re-read it, I could participate in the discussion.

All of the books sound interesting. How about we discuss the top two suggestions, instead of reading an atheist Freethinker book?



Sat Oct 20, 2007 5:44 pm
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I also cast all my votes for The Lucifer Effect. I have already read The Moral Animal and would prefer to read something new.



Sat Oct 20, 2007 6:34 pm
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